Things to do in Žumberak
Set between the Slovenian border on the west and Zagreb on the east, there is the Žumberak Hill, whose peak Sveta Gera, at an altitude of 1178 meters, is the highest peak of continental Croatia. Here stands, or to say, here hides the harmonious and peculiar microregion known under the name Žumberak. Nature is in control there–a small number of locals live in a few wooden villages. A better part of these villages is protected as a part of the Nature Park Žumberak–Samobor Hills. People come here to relax and engage in recreational activities in the pristine nature, to enjoy the rich flora and fauna as well as the remains of the compelling history. The ways and the destination you choose will primarily depend on your personal preferences, and on the fact if you are an exhilarated, sports personality type, or if you are a hiker who prefers lighter pace.
Maybe it is best to begin the tour by visiting the Eco-Center Budinjak, in the village of the same name located in the central part of Žumberak, and step into the Archeological park Budinjak. The prehistoric finding site hides numerous curiosities, and you can get to know the rich history of this area on a light walk along the educational trail Staza kneževa. Budinjak is only one part of the Žumberak archeological trail, and the route is 53 kilometers long. Along the trail, you can find numerous historical landmarks such as mysterious ruins of the medieval Old town Tuščak and Old town Žumberak, or the necropolis of the Celtic tribe Latobik in Bratelji. Near Glušinja, there is a Greek Catholic parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul from the 17th centruy. It is a reminder of the historical fact that the Žumberak area was inhabited by the Uskoks, mostly belonging to the Greek Catholic Church, almost 500 years ago. That is the reason why you can find many more Greek Catholic churches in this area than in the rest of Croatia. You can visit the Žumberak Uskok Museum in the village of Stojdraga to see the depiction of life from the old times.
The Queen Beech trail is one other attractive walking trail that passes through the untouched nature. It is 35 kilometers long, and it goes from Slani Dol to Sošice. That line is adorned by Slapnica valley, a protected landscape with attractions such as Vranjača Waterfall, Brisalo Waterfall, Zidane pećine cave, and the Dragan Mill. Near Medven Draga, where Slapnica flows into the Kupčina River, you can visit the manor house of the Medven family, a preserved country estate from the 19th century. In the village of Podžumberak, next to the forlorn Church of St. Nicholas the Bishop from the 16th century, the oldest Roman Catholic church on the Žumberak area, you can find the old, preserved Pil srama, a baroque brick pillar where wrongdoers used to be punished. The whole Žumberak area is intersected with marked walking and hiking paths and biking trails, so we recommend that you equip yourself with a good map and find your favorite trail, and in the Eco-Center Budinjak, you can rent an electric bike or book a guided tour.
Fresh air and physical activity will certainly exhaust you, so plan a break with homemade local food. Žumberak trout from the clean mountain streams is widely known, and you can find it in the Kupčica River at the breeding site Ribnjaci Vrabac. You can try your hand at fishing, and if you catch any fish, you can take them home or grill them right away. If you want a homemade meal prepared by somebody else, the bistro Žumberački raj,with their own trout breeding ground, awaits you in Kostanjevac. The Country Podžumberak Guest House is also there, offering you accommodation and the dishes of traditional Žumberak cuisine. The forests of Žumberak Hills have recently become recognized as a finding source of black truffle, which periodically enriches the culinary scene of select Zagreb restaurants. You too can participate in truffle finding. To do so, contact the Lagotto’s Peak Guest House. When it comes to accommodation, dreamy Žumberak does not resonate with mass tourism, so it is best to look for accommodation at some of excursion sites or mountaineering lodges, or treat yourself to a nice stay in a cosy holiday home.